Julia Garner is suffering the hangover of a 48-hour dash trip to Paris, in the midst of filming in L.A. But Paris Fashion Week — the Miu Miu show specifically — is certainly worth a few lost hours of sleep, no?
“I think always the stuff is amazing,” she says of the brand, whose front rows she has occupied in seasons past and whose occasional campaign she has appeared in. “But this show was special.”
That said, “I was in Paris for such a short time that it makes the jet lag worse.”
It’s good to know she gets tired from time to time; her work schedule over the past few years would certainly indicate otherwise.
The state of being on-the-go has become the norm for Garner these days, as she continues to become one of the most in demand young actors in the business. She’s been cementing her rise this fall, which started Labor Day weekend with the return for season two of “Ozark,” the much-acclaimed Netflix series starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. She followed up with “Maniac,” the psychological sci-fi comedy from Cary Fukunaga, where she played Emma Stone’s younger sister, and finally, on Nov. 25, will been seen in “Dirty John,” a soapy Bravo crime drama based on the L.A. Times podcast of the same name.
Despite still adjusting time zones, she’s bubbly and sweet as pie on a call from L.A. during her Uber ride home, after a day on the set of “Dirty John,” breaking briefly to direct her driver down her driveway. L.A. may be more or less home for the time being, but as a New York native she still credits that city for giving her the most inspiration in her career.
“I think you have more concept of reality in New York,” Garner says. “As an actor, I feel like that really helps. I’m playing other people, I’m portraying other people, I’m not playing me. I’m becoming someone else.”
Garner grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, in what she describes as a very artistic household. Her mother, now a therapist, was previously an actress in Israel on the local version of “Saturday Night Live.” Her father is a painter and art teacher.
“I think they understood that I wanted to do something artistic,” she says. “But not that my parents were against it — they’re not against anything, if I really want to do it — but they definitely were scared because it’s a really tough business. Would it have been nicer for them if I was smart enough to be a doctor and go to med school? For sure. But no — I was not smart enough to go to med school. But they were definitely supportive [of acting]. I remember my mom being very scared, the first few auditions. My parents are very supportive but they’re also very realistic, which is great.”
Acting started as her way of coping with childhood shyness. “That’s really the reason why I started taking acting classes, at 14,” she says. “But it makes sense that I’m acting because I always had a fascination with actors and actresses. And I didn’t really know why or I didn’t really think of actors and actresses as people, in a sense. I couldn’t wrap my head around how this is an actual job.”
If her birth year — 1994 — wasn’t prominent in her Instagram handle, Garner would be easily mistaken for a woman older than her 24 years. Nothing about her suggests she’s a Millennial: even during the course of an interview, she’s uncomfortable talking only about herself; her knowledge of fashion, both American and international, mimics that of an editor; and she cites Turner Classic Movies, a favorite growing up, as her first love in the film business.
“I loved old movies. And I like imitating people. In a way, I wanted always a bigger story,” Garner says. “I’m the worst liar — I can’t lie for my life. And I don’t lie at all because I’m the worst liar — but as a kid, I thought I was a great liar so I would lie all the time but everybody knew I was lying. So it makes sense that I’m an actor now.”
When asked if she views acting as a form of lie-telling, she clarifies. “It’s just reenacting the truth — you’re believing that moment,” she says.
Having wrapped “Maniac” press earlier this fall she went straight away to Paris for the Miu Miu show before hustling back to L.A. to conclude “Dirty John.” Upon completion she heads to New York for a 12-day shoot of an episode for the Amazon series of the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column. And before “Ozark,” which has recently been renewed for a third season, returns to shooting she hopes to squeeze a little vacation time in there somewhere.
“I don’t remember the last time I went on vacation,” she says, noting it’s been at least two years, since before the first season of “Ozark.” “But [when] we shoot season three for ‘Ozark,’ I definitely need to rest, because that job…I love the character so much, but it’s very exhausting. So I need to recharge…before the hurricane comes into my life again.”
Julia Garner shot at the New York Edition.
More from the Eye: